Memorial Day Observance Memory

Tomorrow, on Memorial Day, I would normally go to the local cemetery. However, the ceremonies will be virtual tomorrow morning as we are still in the Red Zone in our county. I plan on attending the virtual ceremony, but will be thinking back to previous years where I have been there in person.

Tonight I will share what I wrote in 2013.

This morning I went to the local cemetery to view the Memorial Day ceremonies.

A large number of people were there for the ceremonies as well as a large number of participants. All of the community service groups were well represented and many of them took part in the ceremonies.

A brisk wind was blowing and the flags were flapping and fluttering during the entire ceremony. The Boy Scouts had to hold onto the planted flags to make sure they did not blow over.

It was refreshing to attend the ceremonies after being bombarded all weekend by Memorial Day Sale commercials. It was great to hear all the moving tributes to the men and women that have given their lives for our country.

Memorial Day - Congressman Jeff Denham - Tracy, California - Memorial Day CeremoniesThe main speaker for the ceremonies was our Congressmen Jeff Denham. I was really impressed by his comments and his actions during the ceremony. Congressman Denham served in the United States Air Force during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Restore Hope and is on the congressional committee for Veterans’ Affairs.

Memorial Day Ceremonies - Congressman Jeff Denham - Laying of wreath - SaluteNear the end of the program was the placement of wreaths at the Unknown Veteran’s Grave. Congressman Denham’s actions during this time impressed me as he gave a moving tribute, placed the wreath and then saluted in honor of those who had made the great sacrifice of their lives.

After the placement of the wreaths there was the traditional volleys of gunfire and also the playing of taps.

Memorial Day - Gun Volleys - Veterans - VFWHere are several of the veterans who were sitting patiently waiting for the time when they would be called on to fire their three volleys. I really like their hats and the different insignia on them that show their service to our country. I can just imagine the thoughts that they had as they remembered some of their comrades who were killed during their service time. How that they had survived to be able to honor them at this time.

As I stood listening to the three volleys and the sound of the shells clattering to the ground it brought back memories of being with my Grandfather as we visited cemeteries when I was a small kid.

I was also really impressed with the prayers and thanks to God during the ceremony. There was both an Invocation and Benediction by local chaplains and many of the tributes also mentioned God.

After the ceremonies I took some time to walk around the cemetery.

Tracy California Cemetery - Memorial Day - Graves of Veterans - Decoration DayThe Tracy Cemetery has several large sections of graves of veterans who have served our country. There are also many other graves scattered throughout the large cemetery. Today it was easy to spot the graves as they all had flags placed before them. Also, most of the graves were of the same style. The basic white tombstone. There are some graves in the cemetery of veterans from the Civil War and also at least one from the Spanish American War.

Memorial Day - Little Arlington - Tracy, California - Graves of VeteransThe newest section that is dedicated to veterans is known as Little Arlington. Here the tombstones are very uniform and precisely placed. In this picture you can see how well they are lined up.

Why I was looking at the graves I had a young man walk up to me and ask me several questions about Memorial Day. I guess I looked like a grizzled veteran with my white beard. He had come to the ceremony with his young son who had been asking all weekend about what Memorial Day was about. He decided to bring him to the ceremonies so that he could answer his questions. I was impressed that he was wanting to learn more about Memorial Day so that he could pass our heritage down to his son.

I was also very impressed with the overall look of the cemetery. The maintenance staff does a very good job of taking care of the grounds. Many years ago I took care of a small cemetery for several months while between jobs. I know how much work goes into just the mowing of a cemetery. The stones are not easy to maneuver around, especially in an older cemetery.

After taking the time to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom, it was then time for a barbecue with friends.


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